How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

What is the process for approving a Social Security Disability claim?

The process for approving a Social Security Disability claim involves many steps.

First you must file a Social Security and/or SSI disability claim. You might go to your local Social Security office, call the toll free Social Security number (1-800-772-1213), or you may even go online to file a disability claim. However, should you choose to file for Social Security Disability online, you will not be able to file an SSI claim. At this time, SSI applications are not available online.

Consequently, after submitting information online for SSI (this is considered a lead and not an actual application), the local Social Security office will contact you to set up a time to talk to you about potential SSI benefits and other documentation required for your disability claim.

If you do not hear from a Social Security representative in a reasonable amount of time, you may want to call the local Social Security office to check the status of the disability claim.

Once an application has been taken for Social Security Disability, the claim will be forwarded to the state disability agency (which is responsible for making medical disability determinations for the Social Security Administration) for a medical determination.

Remember that disability is based on your inability to work and earn a substantially gainful income due to your medical condition (or conditions) for a period that has lasted twelve months, or is expected to last twelve months.

Many factors are considered in the medical determination such as what your work activity has been for the past fifteen years, your age, your medical conditions, and what functional limitations have been caused by your medical condition or conditions.

If your Social Security Disability claim has been denied, you may appeal the medical decision within sixty days (plus five days for mailing) of your denial notice. The second level of the disability claims process is known as reconsideration or review (it currently goes by different names depending on which state you live in).

Do not become discouraged if you are not allowed at this level, as only a small percentage of disability denials are reversed at this level. Of course, you will once again have sixty days (plus five mailing days) to appeal your disability denial.

The third level of the disability approval process is known as the hearing request. At a Social Security Disability hearing, you will have your disability claim reviewed by an administrative law judge (ALJ). Also, you will be able to present your case and explain how your medical conditions have caused you to be unable to work at a substantial level.

Keep in mind that the ALJ has the ability to take more factors into consideration while making a medical determination than the state agency disability examiners have at their discretion.

Sometimes it is difficult to objectively present your own disability case, therefore you may wish to have a representative present your case facts to the judge. Statistics seem to indicate that disability claimants with representation are more likely to receive a medical allowance or approval at a disability hearing, particularly if they are represented.

Essential Questions

What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?

Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?

How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?

Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

Receiving a Disability Award Letter

Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

Applying for disability in your state

Most popular topics on SSDRC.com

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

The listings, list of disabling impairments

Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?

Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials

How much Social Security Disability SSI back pay?

How to apply for disability for a child or children

Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application

Filing for disability - when to file

How to apply for disability - where to apply

Qualifications for disability benefits

How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Disability - The Process

How to get disability for depression

Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

Social Security Disability SSI definitions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

Who can help me file for disability?

Related pages:

How are Social Security Disability cases decided? - the Process Social Security Uses In Every Disability Case
What is the process for approving a Social Security Disability claim?
Filing for Disability - Can you speed up the Social Security Disability process?
Why is the Social Security Disability Decision Process So Slow?
Crucial Information about the Social Security Disability Application Process and SSI
Disability Claims Through Social Security — How Long is the Process?
The Social Security Disability award notice process in North Carolina
How to qualify for disability - The Process of Qualifying for Benefits
Social Security Disability SSI Criteria and the Evaluation Process
The Social Security Disability Approval Process and the Criteria for Decisions
Why do I keep getting denied for disability?
How long does it take to get a decision on disability in California?
How to apply for SSI Disability in California
How much does it cost to hire a Social Security Disability attorney in California?

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

Permanent Social Security Disability

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

Who is eligible for SSI disability?

Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?

What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?

Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?

For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.